Today, Vanessa Bryant announced the release of Geese Are Never Swans, a young adult book that her late husband, Kobe Bryant, had been working on before his death. Created by Kobe and written by psychologist Eva Clark, the novel explores the healing power of sports and in her announcement, Vanessa told her followers that she hopes that readers come away with messages that were close to Kobe's heart.
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Entertainment Tonight described the plot, writing that Geese Are Never Swans centers around "Gus, a young boy who dreams of making it to the Olympics as a swimmer." His dreams mirror those of his older brother, Danny, who passed away from suicide after not making the team himself. Despite being faced with challenges, Gus "learns the healing power of sports."
"We're so proud to continue Kobe's mission to teach the power of emotion to the next generation of athletes. Kobe's first YA (young adult) title, #GeeseAreNeverSwans is officially out today," Vanessa wrote on Instagram. Her account is private. "The novel focuses on the importance of mental health amongst young athletes and how sports can help overcome some of life's greatest setbacks."
Vanessa also promised that there would be more books coming, noting that this release, in particular, helped her deal with grief and that she's happy to continue Kobe's legacy by continuing to publish his works.
"Thank you for continuing to support his legacy," she finished. "This book also helped me deal with grief. I'm glad we still have his books to help us along the way."
Clark told People that this specific title was especially close to Kobe and that it took them three years' worth of drafts, meetings, and brainstorming to finish.
"Kobe had that spark, he was a storyteller," she said. "He was so dedicated to understanding stories: 'What’s our responsibility? How do you tell it to the people in need?'"
Clark also said that Kobe wanted to challenge the misconceptions associated with mental health and that he wanted to show that athletes are multi-faceted human beings, not just people who are laser-focused on one specific thing.
"There is still so much stigma around mental health, it's seen as something — especially in sports — that isn't talked about or people can’t open up about. We need to take care of our athletes and honor every part of that, not just what we admire of them physically, but also what they're going through emotionally," she explained. "He wanted to tell stories and connect with young people so they felt seen, motivated, and like the world understood and cared about them. I think that was very, very important to him."